Happy belated birthday to the great and prolific composer Jorge Morel who celebrated his 88th birthday on May 9th! We are excited to make Jorge Morel CCM’s May 2019 Composer of the Month. Read below to learn more about his amazing life and hear some of his compositions.
Virtuoso guitarist, composer, recording artist, and educator Jorge Morel has enthralled countless audiences around the globe for more than 30 years. He is known for his Exquisite technique, trademark Style, and elevated expression. Morel’s creative compositions and creative reinterpretations of pop, rock, and folk tunes have added substantially to the classical guitar repertoire. His unique and inventive approach mixes traditional Latin American stylings with elevated Jazz harmonic structure. His compositions have garnered the attention and respect of his contemporaries and solidified his leadership role in the continued development of classical guitar music and musicianship. Let's learn more about this groundbreaking guitarist and composer.
The son of Domingo Scibona and Angela Romeo-Scibona, Jorge Scibona (known to the world as Jorge Morel) was born on May 9,1931 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His father taught him to play the classical guitar when he was just seven years old. Morel loved music and eventually completed advanced studies in guitar at the Academy of Pablo Escobar in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Morel completed his B.M., in 1950. Shortly thereafter, he began performing with Pablo Escobar himself.
Making his mark
Morel travelled as a professional guitarist throughout South America and Cuba. It was around this time that he recorded his first solo LP and appeared on weekly television programs, which led to his regional fame. Vladmir Bobri became a fan of Morel’s work; his support helped Morel book concerts on the Pacific coast in the late 1950s.
Morel is famous for saying “it was the love of jazz that made me come to this country--the music here, the jazz.” What better place to dive into jazz than New York? Morel made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1961 and shortly thereafter recorded a second album. He chose to make Manhattan his home, and gigged regularly throughout the Big Apple while continuing to record and tour. During his tenure at the renowned Village Gate jazz club, Morel met and befriended Chet Atkin, a friendship that eventually brought Morel to RCA.
Later in life
After touring North America and Canada throughout the 1970s and giving roughly seventy concerts a year, Morel gained a solid reputation as a performer; however, it was his concerto for guitar and orchestra that solidified his name as a composer. He premiered the piece, Suite del Sur, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, under the baton of Zubin Mehta.
Morel was married to Olga, and his famous Prelude in Memory of My Wife from Suite Del Sur was written for her. The couple had two children (Jorge Scibona and Francesca Scibona). Morel currently lives and works in Manhattan, where he has served as an adjunct professor of music and classical guitar at Lehman College since 1979. He offers masterclasses and private instruction. Morel’s commitment to the education and discovery of new talent remains constant; he keeps a teaching schedule throughout his yearly European tour. It’s also not unheard of for Morel to invite his former students to join him on stage during live performances.
Check out some of Morel’s famous arrangements and compositions.
Early video clip of Jorge Morel performing
Danza Brasilera for Guitar played by Jorge Morel
Prelude in Memory of My Wife
This is the prelude to Suite del Sur, written for Morel’s wife Olga
Morel once said, “if you don’t have any encouragement, it’s hard to go on.” In spite of his critical acclaim, he remains humble and shows gratitude for his teachers, and he mentors young musicians in turn.
Young, old, experienced, newcomer--music education is for anyone who wants to become a better musician. At the California Conservatory of Music, we provide piano lessons, guitar lessons, violin lessons and more. Whether you need encouragement, accountability, or instruction, we are prepared to help you get to the next place in your musical journey. Contact us today to schedule a lesson.